Canadian Wings :: The History & Heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force


The original Silver Dart was the result of the combined effort by men whose names have since played a prominent place in Canadian and American aviation. They were Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone and long believer in powered flight; J.A.D. McCurdy whose pioneer work in aviation won him international acclaim; and Glen H. Curtiss, whose name became a byword in American aviation. Together in 1907, they formed the Aerial Experiment Association with F.W."Casey" Baldwin and Lieutenant Selfridge of the US Army also as participating members. Built by members of the Aerial Experiment Association, the Silver Dart was the first fixed-wing powered aircraft flown in Canada. It made its first flight on 23 February, 1909 and J.A.D. McCurdy made history when he flew the Silver Dart from Bras d'Or Lake at Baddeck, Nova Scotia. The Silver Dart only flew a half mile, but it was the first heavier-than-air machine to fly in Canada or in the British Empire. After 300 flights, the Silver Dart and an improved version known as the Baddeck No. 1 were demonstrated to the Canadian Army and ultimately the Silver Dart crashed and was written-off while under trial. While not selected for service, the Silver Dart therefore represents the first experiment in aviation by the Canadian military. In 1959, the RCAF decided to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of powered flight in Canada by building and flying an exact replica. This Silver Dart replica is now on display at the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa.

aircraft specifications
CDN Reg:
Manufacturer: Aerial Experiment Association
Crew / Passengers: one pilot and one passenger in tandem
Power Plant(s): one 50 hp 8 cylinder water-cooled Curtiss piston engine
Performance: Max Speed: 50 mph ( 80 km/h)
Service Ceiling: 50 ft ( 15.24 m) Range: 20 mi ( 32 km)
Weights: Empty: 345 lb ( 156 kg) Gross: 860 lb ( 390 kg)
Dimensions: Span: 49 ft 0 in ( 14.96 m) Length: 32 ft 0 in ( 9.75 m)
Height: 10 ft 0 in ( 3.05 m) Wing Area: 420 sq ft (39.02 sq m)
Armament: None
The 1959-era Silver Dart replica is now on display at the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa (CF Photo)

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